Germany sells entire Lufthansa stake at $760m profit

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Germany raised 760 million euros ($760 million) from the sale of a stake in Deutsche Lufthansa AG, unwinding all of the holding it took to keep the flagship carrier afloat during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The country’s Economic Stabilisation Fund, or WSF, sold its remaining 9.92% stake in Europe’s largest airline via an accelerated bookbuilding to institutional investors, according to a statement late Tuesday.

“The total proceeds of 1.07 billion euros generated for the WSF from the sale of its stake significantly exceed the 306 million euros invested to acquire it by 760 million euros,” said Jutta Doenges, who is responsible for the WSF as managing director of the finance agency. With this outcome, “the participation of the WSF ends and the company is back in private hands,” she said.

The joint bookrunners of the block placement announced late Tuesday that the WSF had sold about 7.4 million Lufthansa shares representing about 6.2% of the share capital at 6.11 euros per share, a discount of 3.35% compared with the airline’s closing price.

Lufthansa in November repaid the last of its 9 billion-euro bailout ahead of schedule, enabling the government to pare its stake at a significant profit.

Germany’s richest man may have been one of the buyers, after saying he wants to acquire more shares in Europe’s biggest airline. Klaus-Michael Kuehne is looking to boost his 15.01% stake according to a filing last week, after investing a chunk of a fortune he made in logistics into the carrier.

The latest developments for the carrier come shortly after it said it reached agreement with pilots to increase pay and bar strikes for about a year. Europe’s largest airline has been wrestling with labour disputes that exacerbated an already chaotic summer travel season.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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